Two Poems by Millicent Borges Accardi

Two Poems

By Millicent Borges Accardi

These Cold Days

Come fit to be
Tied into a knot
Of shivers, days
Spent in a lack of sun
With Nights spent
Wishing for the money
To fix the heater, a small
Fortune, the cost
Of a used Honda, or a new
Roof. We patch together
The radiant heart
Still beating with its
Uneven rhythm, warmth
From the propane stove
Intertwined with a portable
Electric unit propped
Up on the coffee table
Littered with papers
And bananas. We promise
To get through these months
Of stupid California winter
With people laughing at us
In our drafty hippie shack
Drifting off its foundation, heading
Down the hill more into the creek
Where we walk across the bridge
To get to the back gate. Others
Would have improved, others would
Have fixed up the two broken fences, front
And back, also the wood going back to seed
Traveling into the dirt as fast as they
Can, the rest of the boards bending
Over now, buckling and frail.
We can and we will be rough-planted
Back into this life all over again
Just like a vow, only broken.


It Turned and We Were Gone

There was lead and a truck,
We arched our backs into each
Curve and bend--swill and orifice
Arcing transported us onto one
Road, the same street we arched
Into without pause, a zinc shape
Of wrist, waist, neck, armpit, mouth,
Hands held over a scale, pressing
Down to fool someone, about the
Outcome. An over-sell for less
Merchandise. Not what we deserved
But a steady stream of intimacy
As if being close were its own crime
A hateful thing we could only solve
By pressing against each other and leaning
Into the arch of what remains to be
Satisfied and what remains to be lost
Our wants striking here and there,
Like a knee or a nerve, a taste of fruit
And then coal. We were zephyrs,
I said, we were rapidly floating
as if matter did not matter.

Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer, is the author of four poetry books, most recently Only More So (Salmon Poetry). Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Fulbright, CantoMundo, Creative Capacity, the California Arts Council, The Corporation of Yaddo, Fundação Luso-Americana, and Barbara Deming Foundation. She’s led poetry workshops at Keystone College, Nimrod Writers Conference, The Muse in Norfolk, Virginia, and University of Texas, Austin. Recent work in The Journal, Laurel Review and Quiddity.


The following has been provide by the poet

These poems are part of a longer manuscript, Below Live Zero, which not only indicates a mechanical state but also the state of our planet at the moment (political, climate, humanitarian) about how we as humans are on the other side of zero.

In a process control loop, a zero state is represented by a small charge, whether it be pneumatic (3 pounds) or electronic (10 mili-amps), the purpose is that the sensory circuit is prepared (on alert) to fluctuate at any change, similar to filling a bagpipe with air before you begin to play. This minimum pressure signifies the state of zero so that any fluctuations can be detected and not have to fill the circuit or charge the circuit before the needle on the control panel can move -

Is it harder to rise and start again when you are mid-stream versus rock bottom? What is the push and pull between distance and intimacy?

"These Cold Days" was written during a time when my husband and I had been housebound for an extended period without heat-- have you ever felt stranded? Invisibility, makes one lack a charge, a spark. Can you see in these poems where there are missed connections?